Followup: City’s new surveillance cameras not just on Alki

February 1, 2013 at 10:38 pm | In Seattle Police surveillance cameras, West Seattle news, West Seattle police | 87 Comments

Three days ago, thanks to sightings reported by WSB readers, we were first to report on a story that since has been picked up by multiple citywide news organizations – cameras and wireless equipment that appeared on utility and streetlight poles along Harbor/Alki Avenues and Beach Drive.

Inquiries and research subsequently brought information – reported here Thursday – that it’s all part of a Seattle Police-led project funded by a federal Homeland Security grant.

This afternoon, SPD offered news organizations covering the story – including WSB – the chance to talk with Assistant Chief Paul McDonagh, who as the commander of the Special Operations Bureau is heading up the project. We talked with him late today, and while a detailed story will follow, there are a couple points we wanted to report tonight:

Biggest one: The cameras are not just along Alki. Nine are up now, and SPD says there will be 30 in all, from Shoreline to Fauntleroy, by the time they’re turned on, likely this spring:

The lines represent fiber connections – the dots, the camera locations. In West Seattle, in addition to the six we counted along Alki/Harbor/Beach, locations you see on the map include Alki Point, the West Seattle Bridge vicinity, Harbor Island, and one in Fauntleroy, which we found right over the southbound RapidRide bus stop at the ferry terminal:

(This one is installed on the inland side of the pole – a problem that Asst. Chief McDonagh confirmed had been fixed for some of the Alki cameras when it came to light in the past day or two.)

Another point of note: While the cameras’ primary mission is homeland security, McDonagh confirmed they can and will be deployed for many other things, including criminal investigations. He also said that there are no plans for community meetings or briefings about them, though he expected to update City Councilmembers at some point.

We recorded our conversation at SPD HQ downtown on video and will have that with the full story this weekend.

87 Comments

  1. @WSB
    Are you aware of, or have contact info of any group that may be heading opposition to this project?

    The “no public breifing” and “can and will be used for other things” is very disturbing….

    Comment by me — 11:11 pm February 1, 2013 #

  2. This is getting out of control. I mean, how nice that they couldn’t care less about informing the community, but of course the City Council members will get a bit of heads up and probably a nice dose of shut the heck up.

    Comment by Tuesday — 12:04 am February 2, 2013 #

  3. “Me” – Not so far. The ACLU has been quoted in a few of the citywide media stories, but it seemed to me to be in the context of “we had to find somebody to go to for a token quote.” Reporting the story iteratively, I’ve been more in fact-finding mode this week, so (aside from trying to get mayoral reaction) I haven’t talked to them yet.- TR

    Comment by WSB — 12:09 am February 2, 2013 #

  4. I am just wondering, why now? Is there a new security issue on Alki or the rest of the shoreline? What prompted this expen$ive investmint to be made here? Why was there not even one or two public meetings? Seems like Seattle-ites and other Americans would want to know about an investment in our Homeland Security & safety being made in coast line of the Puget Sound. Especially such a Big Brother- ish style.

    Comment by huh — 12:50 am February 2, 2013 #

  5. Cameras at the ferry terminal and Terminal 5 I get that, the others do not concern me so much from a privacy standpoint, but the story and funding from homeland security is not so good. I’d like to see how they justified those under homeland security. This isn’t WWII. We aren’t going to be invaded on Alki. I think they got a grant and didn’t know an appropriate way to spend the money.

    Comment by dsa — 1:05 am February 2, 2013 #

  6. Kudos to Mr. George Orwell for his prescient view of what our world is becoming…and, like lambs to the slaughter, most willingly shamble along.

    Comment by anti-obstruction — 1:38 am February 2, 2013 #

  7. pardon me..is this asked for or wanted by the local residents? Shouldn’t the Seattle Police Department, as noble as this effort was intended, include our input too?

    Comment by Concerned Alki resident, 7 years — 1:56 am February 2, 2013 #

  8. “….Seattle Police-led project funded by a federal Homeland Security grant. The cameras are not just along Alki….Nine are up now, and SPD says there will be 30 in all, from Shoreline to Fauntleroy….

    Wecome to Big Brotha west Seattle, USA.
    More to come.
    Just keeping ya’ll safe from–something or other…

    Comment by transplantella — 2:55 am February 2, 2013 #

  9. One very pertinent question is whether machine learning algorithms will be used with these cameras for automatic logging of faces and license plates or whether the video will only be analyzed after crimes have been committed?
    -
    There is a big difference between keeping video to review a posteriori and constantly logging citizen location data.

    Comment by AIDM — 7:29 am February 2, 2013 #

  10. AIDM – That’s one of the things we asked – while there is a “steering committee” finalizing policies, Assistant Chief McDonagh said that the video would be kept for 30 days unless it was determined some part of it was needed for an investigation, and that part would then be isolated and kept for a not-yet-determined period. No facial recognition technology included – he also said, contrary to the quote from the trade-magazine article that we found online, there is no infrared capability either. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 8:18 am February 2, 2013 #

  11. If anybody would like to borrow my copy of “1984″ I still have a well read copy.

    Comment by rick — 8:18 am February 2, 2013 #

  12. Unfortunately, we live in a world where greater security is necessary. I hate to admit it but we’ve been thinking about installing a security camera after being broken into. They have security cameras all over the large cities in Europe. While I understand people wanting to be involved in the decision I personally support this action.

    Comment by Norma — 8:20 am February 2, 2013 #

  13. The cameras are already broadcasting/on. If they’re lying about that… While it is true that those particular cameras do not have infared it is highly unlikely they are not using facial recognition software since those cameras are capable of very high resolution, zoomed in photos.

    Comment by Walker — 8:23 am February 2, 2013 #

  14. I wonder how many other states/cities in these great United States are getting this special “homeland security” perk? Orwellian, indeed!

    Comment by Carolyn — 8:28 am February 2, 2013 #

  15. I for one will not trust anything they say regarding capabilities of these cameras. If he says they won’t be infrared, that may just mean it will be toggled off. The camera may very easily have multiple capabilities accessible by settings or software upgrades, similar to how an iPhone upgrade can improve how the hardware camera by changing how the software works.
    -
    Ditto the other algorithms. We need someone with expertise in these systems, ala Patrick the weather guy.
    -
    Thanks WSB for not only keeping on top of this, but also digging deeper. Can micronews-sites get Pulitzers?

    Comment by JayDee — 8:41 am February 2, 2013 #

  16. So sick of this crap. Red light cameras, speeding cameras, and now cameras that didn’t have a public debate put in that the public shouldn’t worry about because the police are so specific that “they can be used for other things.”

    Comment by Come on — 8:47 am February 2, 2013 #

  17. This is being set up a police department that is under supervision for routinely violating our Constitutional rights.

    There is no public trust that enables this department inparticular to set up the guide lines which are supposed to protect the rights that many Americans died trying to protect. We all need to honor thier sacrifice and keep fighting to protect the Constitution. We are responsible for making sure our children do not grow up in a country that has less freedom than when we were born into it. It’s the obligation of one generation to the next.

    Comment by Neighbor — 8:48 am February 2, 2013 #

  18. Don’t forget to include all the license plate reading cameras that are also showing up.
    Two on the back of the “Minutes to Stadium” sign on the Admiral Hill. Three on the back side of the signs heading east on the WS bridge. (one for each lane).

    Comment by say cheese — 9:00 am February 2, 2013 #

  19. Will there be a web address that we can watch the live camera footage on as well?

    Comment by C — 9:30 am February 2, 2013 #

  20. Carolyn – that’s another point we asked about, whether this is already happening somewhere else. Our interviewee says to his knowledge, this is the first of its kind.

    Comment by WSB — 9:31 am February 2, 2013 #

  21. This project is not just about security cameras. There may be something that is even more frightening going on here. Theses “stations” are all on a fiber optic network that apparently leads to a command center. That being the case, what is the “wireless” portion of the project and what is the purpose of the antennas at each station? Could the possible use be for intercepting wireless communications, Cell Phone conversations, and home wi-fi networks?
    The storage of digital data is infinite. Once collected, it will never be destroyed. It will just be banked someplace else. The presumption that it will be only kept for 30 days is misleading. Facial recognition, and the like, could easily be performed on the collected data and does not need to be a function of the cameras

    Why the secrecy from the SPD and the apparent reluctance to give any information? The community really needs to start demanding answers.

    Comment by me — 9:52 am February 2, 2013 #

  22. Can we get a link to the complete list of planned cameras?

    And, as noted above: how about a statement about how the photos/data from license plate readers are used, how long it’s retained for, etc.

    Generally speaking, you should have no expectation of privacy while in public. However, I also think that it’s a reasonable expectation to know how the photos/data collected by public organizations use that data. I think we can set the terms for this “slippery slope”, at least as far as public organizations go…

    For instance: why not require that the public be able to access any of these cameras, at any times? What would the argument be against that… it’s just “public”, right? It’s the flip side of the “no expectation of privacy in public”, right?

    Just some thoughts :)

    Comment by Steve — 9:54 am February 2, 2013 #

  23. Steve – The info is not online yet (we asked that too). On Monday I’m hoping to get at least a PDF of the map from which our blurry photo was cropped – our interview yesterday was so late in the day that it was evening by the time we left, and while SPD Public Affairs answers urgent media inquiries around the clock, posts highlighted cases to SPD Blotter, etc., they won’t be able to help me with that till the next business day. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 9:59 am February 2, 2013 #

  24. The slow death march of the bill of rights

    Comment by Come on — 10:05 am February 2, 2013 #

  25. If it makes Alki safer for families to walk on summer nights then I am for it. If you don’t have anything to hide then you shouldnt care about the cameras is the way I look at it. Help keep me safe and help keep the residents safe and hopefully no more women or bystanders get hurt and if they do, they can catch the bad guys/girls. People had a huge outcry of safety measures needed by MeeKwaMooks and this will hopefully prevent that from happening again.

    Comment by Dale — 10:16 am February 2, 2013 #

  26. Secure the Homeland, my Stasi brothers!

    Comment by Marcus M — 10:24 am February 2, 2013 #

  27. Folks:

    Whenever you talk to your elected representatives, (and I hope that you do), please remind them that
    Freedom is protected by boxes:
    (1) the soap box
    (2) the ballot box
    (3) the jury box &
    (4) the ammo box.

    Comment by flynlo — 10:54 am February 2, 2013 #

  28. https://www.aclunc.org/docs/criminal_justice/police_practices/under_the_watchful_eye_the_proliferation_of_video_surveillance_systems_in_california.pdf

    This report called “Under the Watchful Eye” is a fairly comprehensive summary about why it’s right to be concerned about these cameras.

    Comment by CE — 10:57 am February 2, 2013 #

  29. Two questions in regards to these cameras:

    Where did the funding come from to pay for them?

    Who approved them and signed off on their installation?

    Comment by West Seattle Hipster — 11:01 am February 2, 2013 #

  30. Dale-I agree with you-I personally don’t fear these cameras/red light cameras/license plate cameras etc-but I understand that many don’t feel the same & fear we are going down a “slippery slope”.I do know that the police can’t be everywhere & if these cameras in particular can be be used as a tool to protect waterways & help catch criminals then I think they’re worth it.Not sure if they can be called a preventative measure-but perhaps-if bad guys know there are cameras around they might think twice about commiting a crime-time will tell I guess.

    Comment by Anne — 11:07 am February 2, 2013 #

  31. This is outrageous and recently I learned WSDOT/SDOT has cameras on our roads, Metro has cameras on our busses and the Port of Seattle has cameras at SeaTac. It is time to fight back and start breaking cameras where ever they are; let’s start with our cell phones.

    Comment by Hoppy Daze — 11:08 am February 2, 2013 #

  32. Seems like they always try starting these type of projects in Seattle do to high percentage of liberal people living here that believe everything the goverment tells them. If this is really about port security then why is the Seattle Port police not involved ? since they police the port areas and airports ? These cameras most likely will be also able to read licence plates and many other things. If people notice most cameras are mounted across street from the beach side. They have very little or nothing to do with port or water activity. It is all about tracking cars and people. 5 million dollars spent the wrong way. Next they will have a big push in the media about how these types of cameras are helping solve crimes and prosecute people. Do your own research on the real facts and I think you might see something different that what the SPD is saying.

    Comment by wetone — 11:18 am February 2, 2013 #

  33. Hipster – that’s in our previous stories – $5 million federal grant; City Council gave permission last May to allow SPD to accept the grant. My second story went into those details. Got no notice at that time that I can find – the same Council committee meeting had a presentation on the “drones” (which are coming back up at council next week, by the way) and that got all the attention. Second story:
    .
    http://westseattleblog.com/2013/01/followup-more-about-city-installed-alki-surveillance-cameras
    .
    Re: wetone and “your own research” – That’s what I’m doing. This was NOT announced. As chronicled in our three stories so far, these cameras suddenly turned up, readers noticed and e-mailed us to ask “what’s up with the cameras?” Along with combing the Web for anything I could find, I spent two days asking various city departments – since they were on city poles, I figured someone SOMEWHERE would know, and finally a couple pointed me to SPD, who at the time offered a bit of information and said more would be forthcoming at a “big announcement.” I found the video and documentation from last May’s City Council meeting thanks to Councilmember Licata’s staff, who in turn were poking around because the local privacy advocate who filed a FOIA, beating me to that punch, also cc’d them on concerns – I had been searching city records but did not look for the right keywords (“camera,” for example, as pointed out in that story, is not in the ordinance title or summary). I am fairly strong as a researcher (that’s why we are first to report myriad things – I routinely check under a long list of electronic rocks) BUT I also welcome the help of anyone who thinks there’s somewhere we’re not looking – the more information, the better, and I have to balance all this while also running the site in general – TR

    Comment by WSB — 11:37 am February 2, 2013 #

  34. While I don’t have a big problem with the cameras recording public space I think the lack of transparency and accountability about the project is really pathetic. I attended the drone info session at Garfield a couple months ago and any SPD staff should know how sensitive this topic is. City leadership seems a bit clueless about how to implement such a program. At least now the Council is reviewing legislation about how drones may be used that WSB Twitter linked to yesterday.

    Comment by ScottA — 11:45 am February 2, 2013 #

  35. Are there cameras in the Strait of Juan de Fuca? Seems best to get a watch on the bad guys before they get this far into Puget Sound, doesn’t it? Though I would rather not have cameras at all and consider these on Alki to be a gross invasion of privacy. Darn, my middle finger is going to be busy when I take my walks down there.

    Comment by Maude — 11:48 am February 2, 2013 #

  36. Other cities have gotten grants from DHS and have these cameras installed as well. ACLU did a study of many cities in CA that have used camera surveillance. I pasted a link in my above comment.

    Comment by CE — 11:52 am February 2, 2013 #

  37. I bet nobody will complain if just one of these cameras helps solve a murder or crime. Perhaps if when the lady was found murdered last year the camera was there it would have helped solve that crime.
    Come on, we are on cameras everywhere. At work, shopping, banking, traveling, etc. After living on the east coast and living through 9-11 on the east coast, I am all for cameras.
    I think people are just too paranoid.

    Comment by coffee — 11:53 am February 2, 2013 #

  38. Now known as the “Bull of Rights”.

    Comment by rick — 11:53 am February 2, 2013 #

  39. My sentiments, exactly, Neighbor.
    The Patriot Act decimated basic civil rights that generations of Americans have fought to preserve and protect…at least that was my understanding of history and how this country was supposed to work.
    The rampant proliferation of cameras and other high-tech gadgetry to “protect” us is but another nail in the coffin of what it really means to be “free”.
    Let’s not mince words—-this is spying, period.

    Comment by anti-obstruction — 11:57 am February 2, 2013 #

  40. A true patriot must always defend his country from it’s government. And no I am not a nut job. But I am a student of history. And I know what the government has shown it is capable of in the past.

    From interning the Japanese during WWII to watergate to the iraq war WMD, our government has proven many times that it needs to be watched and in some cases called into question. It is suppose to be a function of it’s people. And we need to guard against the slow erosion of individual liberty that has and will continue to happen. I dont care if you are liberal or conservative Do not take any of you rights for
    granted.

    Comment by Come on — 12:09 pm February 2, 2013 #

  41. Dale, Anne – I don’t feel safer knowing that the cameras can only help the security forces determine who committed a crime that has already occurred. Not until all of the bad actors have been captured and put away would I feel safer.
    But, who makes the decision on who the bad guy is? Today, we might all agree that we’d be safer by running gang bangers and drug dealers out of the area. But then what? What criteria will be used to determine the next target? There will be a next target.
    With facial recognition and license plate reading capabilities, it’s easy to envision a near future where individuals could be searched for, real time. What if that unknown someone decides that you are the next terrorist using their unknown criteria?

    Comment by Jim — 12:10 pm February 2, 2013 #

  42. CE – what the chief might have referred to, then, is the “wireless mesh” system that they are related to. That, he repeated, was what interested the city even more than the cameras – TR

    Comment by WSB — 12:12 pm February 2, 2013 #

  43. ” He also said that there are no plans for community meetings or briefings about them,”
    Well, that about sums up the police attitude towards those it protects.

    Despite some people’s cry of “Ohh, I Like it! They make me safe”, they do not make you safe as criminals simply ignore them. The argument that “If you have nothing to hide what are you afraid of” is both stupid and genuinely frightening.

    Comment by Jim P. — 12:15 pm February 2, 2013 #

  44. “After living on the east coast and living through 9-11 on the east coast, I am all for cameras.”

    And how exactly would security cameras have prevented 9-11?

    Do please study England’s use of them. They are ubiquitous, expensive and obtrusive and have almost zero effect on crime and so rarely provide any genuine assistance in solving crimes (and nothing in preventing them) that it makes headlines when they actually provide useful data.

    Do NOT base your ideas on what you see on TV with them being used in real time to track people and always managing to have a nice ground level view of their faces etc. That’s movies. Just as you should not base your opinions on crime solving by watching CSI.

    Comment by Jim P. — 12:19 pm February 2, 2013 #

  45. We are shamelessly ignorant of our own human history. I agree with those who equate this with the Stasi and call it spying. That’s exactly what it is. We have a 4th Amendment for a reason, and that is so that, before government can invade your privacy and shred your civil rights, they must have probable cause. Sure, we can’t “expect” total privacy when out in public, but that doesn’t mean state agents automatically have the right to carpet bomb every inch of public space with cameras.

    We used to not just be familiar with the statement “better to let 10 guilty men go free than to wrongfully imprison 1 innocent man,” but also the rationale. Not anymore. Now, everyone thinks nothing will ever happen to them. This is dangerous territory from a government that can turn your life into a living hell in a split second.

    It’s not paranoia to demand that your own government that you pay for respect your civil rights and abide by the constitution it operates under.

    All state action that infringes on citizens rights must be justified – at some level. This isn’t even a contest; It’s a forfeit. Unbelievable.

    Comment by pjmanley — 1:06 pm February 2, 2013 #

  46. Like reagan said about the berlin wall,”tear down that wall mr.gorbachev”.this gov.is a total joke.I say revolt .

    Comment by scott myers — 1:22 pm February 2, 2013 #

  47. WSB my comment saying (Do your own research on the real facts and I think you might see something different that what the SPD is saying) was not directed at you. You folks have done a great job on this and I Thank You.

    Comment by wetone — 1:22 pm February 2, 2013 #

  48. I would like to encourage one and all to read
    Big Brother by Mark Dice. He writes of the use of all sorts of devices and their uses. Ranging from the use of RFID tags, security cameras and facial recognition systems. Evidently Home Depot uses one of the best facial recognition software systems made.

    Comment by say cheese — 1:29 pm February 2, 2013 #

  49. Is no one else concerned about the wireless aspect of this? Are you not concerned about having your cell phones listened in on? Or your internet sniffed?

    Comment by bs — 1:55 pm February 2, 2013 #

  50. Jim – what do you mean- ” who decides who the bad guys are” If a camera catches a picture of someone commiting a crime & from the photo that person is identified, charged & faces a trial- then the public —srving as a jury stands in judgement. If you think someone will be mis- identified by one of these camera photos- well that can happen even now with security cameras in stores etc. that’s why the camera/ photo is only a tool – not the last word. Also no one is saying these cameras will necessarily prevent a crime – other than maybe- just maybe someone might think twice about commiting a crime if they knew they were on camera. Regarding 9-11- you’re right-cameras did nothing to prevent it- but they did capture the pictures of some of the terrorists – who were then identified.
    If a camera had been in place at Me- Kwa-Mooks – & captured a photo of the killer perhaps he would be in jail now- instead of still out there somewhere.

    Comment by Anne — 2:00 pm February 2, 2013 #

  51. The map shows a camera at about 38th & Lander, nowhere near the water. So is that ‘homeland security’, or ‘deployed for many other things’?

    Comment by JKB — 2:01 pm February 2, 2013 #

  52. Free Wi-fi?

    Comment by Guy — 2:29 pm February 2, 2013 #

  53. WSB: Try asking the Port, or the Coast Guard. The longshoremen are still in a huge dispute over grain shipments:

    http://www.oregonlive.com/business/index.ssf/2012/12/northwest_grain_terminal_locko_1.html

    Terminal 86 (grain) just reopened two weeks ago. Very visible from Alki and other camera locations. No doubt the SPD would coordinate with these aforementioned agencies.

    Comment by a little bird — 2:54 pm February 2, 2013 #

  54. I think the paranoia is much more scary than the cameras….

    Comment by mrsB — 3:00 pm February 2, 2013 #

  55. A similar camera setup (dome camera on a pole, with wireless antennas beside it) exists on the corner of 4th and columbia. It cant be providing much use in monitoring the water from behind all of those buildings!

    Comment by person — 3:34 pm February 2, 2013 #

  56. MrsB:

    It is only paranoia if they aren’t really coming after you. Didn’t it surprise you that Seattle Police has a Special Operations Bureau? Could they have picked a more sinister name? “I’m Detective Friday with Special Ops…” Why is this not up for public discussion? Is it because they fear the villagers are revolting? Or because they know it would be voted down?
    -
    How much does a single police officer cost in terms of $/year? $150K? $200K? It is clear this is a seed effort, so $5MM is just a down payment. How many police officers could we hire who prevent crime, not document it after the fact? Police officers who know the neighborhood, unlike the unblinking eyes that see all and understand nothing? Police officers you can talk to?
    -
    In Israel the police officers talk to travelers; in America we frisk Grandma with millimeter radar. Which system would I trust more? Israel’s because people are better than machines.

    Comment by JayDee — 3:55 pm February 2, 2013 #

  57. For anyone who knows what the NDAA is (if you don’t, PLEASE Google it and learn), this is not surprising at all.

    Comment by B — 5:06 pm February 2, 2013 #

  58. Pellet gun shots from a crack in your car window. That’s all it takes. That’s what will happen if people really give a damn. I can’t wait to read about it on the blog.

    Comment by Coyote — 5:32 pm February 2, 2013 #

  59. I’d prefer pay for cops on the beat than cameras and robots ticketing my neighbors for victim-less infractions like cyber hall-monitors to sustain my peter principle inspired government. Funny how we can’t maintain the roads, parks or public areas, but can afford expensive cathedrals to perform “the peoples” business in, like the cavernous red room on the first floor of City Hall. Hideous. And we all paid for it.

    Comment by pjmanley — 5:37 pm February 2, 2013 #

  60. Keep in mind that in this country, if you are in a public place or even in a private place that can be viewed from a public place, you have absolutely no legal expectation of privacy, of any sort. I could, quite legally, walk down Alki and take photos of people inside their homes. So what liberties are being violated by these cameras? This is clearly not a fourth amendment issue; no illegal search and seizure is occurring.

    Comment by Twobottles — 5:48 pm February 2, 2013 #

  61. What if they used this money to put actual cops on the beat. Generally that would be much more of a deterrent.

    Comment by WsEd — 6:05 pm February 2, 2013 #

  62. B, your point?

    NDAA is the funding bill that provides for the entire Department of Defense. I already knew we had one of those.

    Comment by JKB — 6:50 pm February 2, 2013 #

  63. I feel like this is the most important story posted on this site since I’ve been reading. Thanks to the question asking West Seattleites and WSB for bringing this to our attention. This is an issue that needs local, state AND national attention. People need to get pissed and very VOCAL. This is sort of insanity is beyond party affiliation.

    Comment by Tuesday — 6:54 pm February 2, 2013 #

  64. So I guess a practical question. Does anyone actually monitor the cams or is it all just recorded and reviewed if an incident occurs?

    Also, if they are monitored, is that done by local officials or some out of state company?

    I mean really if they aren’t monitored and simply record data for 30 days, that doesn’t prevent crime or incidents from occurring on the water or the beach. It just collects data for later use. Which is about as useful as existing private security cams.

    Also, I saw it said before, what guarantee is there that the data is scrubbed after 30 days?

    Comment by Civik — 7:02 pm February 2, 2013 #

  65. Civik – I asked that too. No one will be assigned to monitor them, I was told – they will record, and if an incident happens or concern, then they will be monitored/used while it’s happening. Are extra people being hired for the project? I asked. Reply: No. Question: So then who would operate the cameras – dispatchers? Or? Answer: The ‘steering committee’ is still working that out.

    Comment by WSB — 7:15 pm February 2, 2013 #

  66. Mrs b,

    Larry flynt once had a response to that when he was sued by Jerry fallwell for emotional distress. “why do I have to go to jail to protect your freedom.”

    In other words, you should be thanking people who worry about this. Cause otherwise you sure as heck wouldn’t be able to post whatever you want on the Internet. If you don’t believe me go take a look at the other country which is rapidly on it’s way to becoming a second world power; china. Or the last; the soviet union. Your freedoms are precious and you clearly take them completely for granted. If you trust the government so much to do the right thing, go ask the American Indian how that worked out.

    Comment by Come on — 7:24 pm February 2, 2013 #

  67. I hope the cameras don’t let my mom know that I throw the stewed prunes out the window. That would be a fate worse than death. Even worse than eating GOP freedom fries…

    Comment by Tartar Sauce on Freedom Fries — 7:52 pm February 2, 2013 #

  68. Reminds me of the olde “Your papers please” —

    There is a statue of Lenin in Fremont — there is a “Hammering Man” statue in downtown Seattle — that Hammering Man statue is STRAIGHT out of Stalinist and Hitlerian SOCIALIST crap — keep voting for the bolsheviks people — you are beginning to reap what has been sown!

    Comment by Bill — 9:16 pm February 2, 2013 #

  69. Hey — just looked again at the camera map — these areas are probably the lowest crime rate areas in the city — well duh — why weren’t they strung down Delridge Way and maybe Highland Park — not to mention MLK Way and Rainer Ave — a shooting just there last night in a Safeway parking lot — huh? — why Alki????? — what gives? – well here is a hint folks — they put in the cameras where they are not really needed, then a little later everyone is bitching that the cameras are not in the high crime areas and then — MORE GRANTS — MORE tax payer money – to show what — the friggin’ aftermath of stuff — total BS — we need cops on the beat — big 6+ foot plus bruisers with 30 inch hickory nightsticks = walking in pairs — not some wussie BS cameras.

    Comment by Bill — 9:26 pm February 2, 2013 #

  70. No, Twobottles, state action, i.e. government action/actors have to pass constitutional muster when they spy on citizens. Private citizens have no such duty, although they can be sued for so-called “privacy torts” such as Intrusion into Private Affairs, but only when a reasonable expectation of privacy exists. There are two separate issues: 1. What is a reasonable expectation of privacy(?), and 2. What probable cause does my government have to conduct surveillance on the general public? When it comes to state action, government agencies can’t just act as they wish because they feel like it. They have to have reasons which serve a legitimate interest and don’t run afoul of the 4th amendment.

    Comment by pjmanley — 11:40 pm February 2, 2013 #

  71. An average Londoner is caught on CCtv 300 times per day. Food for thought.

    Comment by J — 5:21 am February 3, 2013 #

  72. I think the real question is who is looking at all this data, and to what ends. There is such a free flow of information; it is endless.

    Comment by J — 5:30 am February 3, 2013 #

  73. Yep and despite all those cameras they didn’t manage to do anything when the terrosists attacked their transit system. Food for thought.

    Comment by Come on — 8:59 am February 3, 2013 #

  74. We don’t live in London. We fought the Revolutionary to war to get out from under that kind of control. No taxation without representation; No surveillance without our consent. How about that?

    Comment by pjmanley — 10:18 am February 3, 2013 #

  75. “Those who give up essential liberty to purchase a little safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
    Ben Franklin

    Comment by anti-obstruction — 11:38 am February 3, 2013 #

  76. For those who are concerned about this, what is the best way to make our voices heard?

    Comment by CE — 11:43 am February 3, 2013 #

  77. CE – it’s the Police Department’s program, but ultimately your elected officials are the ones with whom “the buck stops,” as the saying goes, and that would be Mayor McGinn and the City Council, particularly Councilmember Bruce Harrell, who chairs the Public Safety/Technology/Civil Rights Committee, which as noted in our second story are the ones who got the initial review on this and approved it last May (the other members of that committee are CM’s Mike O’Brien and Nick Licata, though only O’Brien was present with Harrell for the May briefing). Their individual e-mail/phone info are all found from http://seattle.gov/council – the mayor from http://seattle.gov/mayor – TR

    Comment by WSB — 12:04 pm February 3, 2013 #

  78. We should set up cameras at the police stations in Seattle and have the cameras be displayed to the public. Its only fare. I drive down Delridge almost every day and the police station is full of cop cars. Shouldn’t they be driving around busting bad guys? Tax dollars hard at work in Seattle.

    Comment by Codad — 1:37 pm February 3, 2013 #

  79. JKB…

    Aside from simply “allocating funds for the DOD,” The National Defense Authorization Act has provision in it that call for the “indefinite detention on American citizens.” No lawyer. No trial. No phone call. No due process. All you have to do is be accused of being a “threat” (a very loosely-defined term). This has passed and is now legally on the books. Aside from that, the NDAA also allocates funds for legal propaganda in the US.

    Comment by B — 4:38 am February 4, 2013 #

  80. Thanks WSB. Will you still be publishing the full story with your recorded conversation that you mentioned would be forthcoming?

    Comment by CE — 6:35 am February 4, 2013 #

  81. in a few hours. Working on it right now.

    Comment by WSB — 6:50 am February 4, 2013 #

  82. People ………. these cameras are being paid for by the Department of Homeland Security, not the Seattle Police. Do any of you remember Obama’s little noticed announcement that if elected in 2008, he wanted to create a “civilian national security force” as big and well- funded as the Defense Department? Here’s what Obama said at a campaign stop in Colorado on July 2, 2008. “We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.” Are any of you aware that Homeland Security has recently purchased 1.7 billion rounds of .40 caliber hollow point ammunition and billions more of 5.56 MM ammunition for use in their AR-15 rifles? They are stockpiling enough guns and ammo to kill all of us 300 times over. All of the major police departments in the USA are being equipped with armored vehicles and drones capable of firing rockets. They are all being militarized, and Seattle already has four drones I’m told, and some sources say that they were paid for by Homeland Security.

    As several of you have mentioned, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) allows for our Government to declare anybody they want to be a terrorist, and once declared to be so, you can be held without any formal charges being made by the authorities against you for as long as they want. For all practical purposes our 6th Amendment, no longer exists. Our 4th Amendment was trashed long ago. Call me paranoid if you want, but our country is fast becoming a police state.

    To me, the old saying, “I love my country but I fear my government” has taken on an entirely new meaning. The next few years should be very interesting.

    Comment by phil dirt — 7:52 am February 4, 2013 #

  83. Thanks Phil. These are exactly some of the reasons why I feel these cameras are a big deal. We need to stop being apathetic and start investigating these issues for ourselves.

    Comment by CE — 8:56 am February 4, 2013 #

  84. CE, you ask how your, our voices, opinions can be heard. One simple answer is when you VOTE! Many of these people involved with this project are elected to their positions (city counsel)and some involved have announced they will be running for mayor. Voting is a great way to show your opinion !!!!

    Comment by wetone — 9:35 am February 4, 2013 #

  85. How can this be allowed when we are cutting social services?? How many people face eviction due to rent increases, or cant feed themselves. I think this money was wasted. and Yes not only do we not need these, but even if we did, i believe the strait of Juan De Fuca would be a more appropriate spot. BOO for Cameras installed with NO city vote. How can they say theres a big recession, send the banks Millions, Pay millians for cameras, and Cut money for education. Its SICK and Wrong!!

    Comment by sagafoo — 1:38 pm February 5, 2013 #

  86. They can and will do anything they want to ! Big Brother has always been a watching , they’re just stepping up the game. Revenue! Who’s paying you ask? We are!

    Comment by Goddesss — 8:39 pm February 7, 2013 #

  87. Vote you say, we do . Still have a South Park Bridge to cross nope. Monorail built. Key Arena upgrades done correct, Seawall included in the newest Tunnel Plan ? God knows I could go on and on. Don’t have any solution either ? Maybe Chris Hansen and Vulcan are going to save us. HaHahaHa

    Comment by Goddesss — 8:53 pm February 7, 2013 #

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